Award-winning Actor and Playwright Jerre Dye Debuts New Work, "DISTANCE"

Oct 13, 2014

Fresh off the success of his first play, Cicada, Jerre Dye explores the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease in his new work, DISTANCE.

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DISTANCE is a new play by award-winning playwright and Voices of the South company member, Jerre Dye.  It is the culmination of Voices of the South's "THREADS" audience participation story project, where patrons were asked to choose from a selection of scenes and monologues they would like to see expanded into a full-length play.

Dye's latest work explores Alzheimer's disease and how it impacts not only the character Irene Radford who has received the diagnosis, but also the people who inhabit her world.  The further Irene drifts into memory, the closer these relative "strangers" become connected to one another.  DISTANCE explores questions of memory, identity, relationship, and the vulnerability of change.

Also known for his celebrated work as an actor and director, Jerre Dye most recently work-shopped Ghosts of Crosstown, for which he wrote the libretti for five short operas as part of an Opera Memphis collaboration with Voices of the South.  His acclaimed play, Cicada, which was developed with Voices of the South in 2011, opened in Chicago last April, and was recently nominated for two 2014 Jeff Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Memphian Cecelia Wingate.  Also for Cicada, Dye won The Bryan Family Award for Dramatic Literature from the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2011.

I spoke to Jerre Dye and two of his cast members, Cecelia Wingate and Steve Swift, about DISTANCE, its conception and the creative process behind the play.